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The Benefits Of Open Space



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The Benefits Of Open Space

To the Editor:

Thank you for your editorial supporting Newtown’s scenic and rural character and for emphasizing both the quality of life and the economic benefits that inure to the townspeople through their open space program.

Open space investments are one of the only government programs that provide taxpayers with both quality of life and economic benefits. Consider the following benefits:

Appreciation in value of your home.

An improved quality of life in terms of our natural surroundings, recreation, views, and the quality of our air and water.

Eliminating otherwise inevitable taxpayer costs associated with development, especially the major cost of educating an ever-expanding school population.

Your sentiment that we should consider investing more in open space is on target and we should do so in a more innovative and comprehensive way. We can’t afford to buy all the open space we need to protect. We should invest resources in educating and helping people explore ways that they can benefit by taking advantage of the tax laws in gifting land or development rights. You can often protect Newtown’s scenic and rural character and concurrently improve your own economic circumstances. We have not scratched the surface.

This will remain a challenging issue because much of our local economy, and the livelihoods of many of our citizens, are tied directly to mining and building on the limited resource that is Newtown’s open space.

Preserving open space is also a key to a quality education. I have two daughters (NHS 2006 and 2008) who benefited greatly from the fine and caring education they received at Newtown High School. I have a son who is presently enrolled as a junior. I can’t say enough about the dedicated people who make up this fine school system... “people are programs.” It will be challenging to continue to improve the quality of our educational system if the administration has to constantly chase a moving target. Expanding enrollment and endless infrastructure projects will sap our strength. Preserving open space will be required to ensure educational quality, maintain our quality of life, and keep Newtown affordable.

George Ferguson

Vice Chairman

Newtown Conservation Commission

49 Taunton Hill Road, Newtown                        September 30, 2009

Comments are open. Be civil.

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